JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 139

17 September 2019

White River National Forest

Written by:

My experience working for the U.S. Forest Service has consisted of long hikes and beautiful sceneries. The idea of moving to Colorado from coastal California for a season as a Wilderness Ranger for the Blanco District in White River National Forest filled me with excitement while it also intimidated me. I arrived at a bunk house 30 miles past the nearest town, where I was greeted by the sound of the White River, lodgepole pines and aspen trees. No cell phone service or WiFi.

I have joined this summer’s trail crew, also known as my housemates and friends, on trail work and maintenance. When I explain this work to my friends and family, they instantly comment on how I went from being a “tree hugger” to a “tree cutter” in just a matter of weeks. After attending crosscut saw training at the beginning of the season, we were introduced to these special tools, known as crosscut saws, which is one of the main tools we carry with us during our long day and backpacking trips. The weather has been a big change for me, a lot of rain and hail welcomed us at the beginning of the season, which made working conditions extremely difficult.

As the weather is becoming warmer and snow has uncovered a lot of trails, there has been more visitors, mosquitoes being most of them. With this change, I have also been in the process of transitioning to my Wilderness Ranger role, by hiking and patrolling trails, completing campsite inventories, and interacting with outfitters and visitors.

On another note, I was honored to table and collaborate with The Wilderness Society and Defiende Nuestra Tierra on the Latino Conservation Week Fiesta Comunitaria in Rifle. We had fun games, music, tacos, and overall such a great time at the event. I particularly enjoyed opening a space to talk to local community members in Spanish and informing them about our public lands. I handed out wilderness regulations handouts that I had translated from English to Spanish, and individually invited them to come out and visit these beautiful sites that most people did not even know existed, or were accessible. As I continue to learn more each day, I hope to be able to share that information in one way or another and be that resource to our Latino community.

MANO Project
is an initiative of Hispanic 
Access Foundation.

P: (202) 640-4342